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Motor accidents bulletin - March 2020

Coronavirus (COVID-19) update

The State Insurance Regulatory Authority (SIRA) is carefully monitoring the Commonwealth and State Governments’ announcements and health advice relating to coronavirus (COVID-19). We are also continuing to closely monitor the impact the COVID-19 pandemic is having on businesses and our customers.

SIRA has confirmed that insurers have business continuity plans in place to ensure normal business operations are maintained. We will continue to closely monitor and engage with insurers as the situation develops to ensure the CTP insurance services provided are maintained and any impact to injured people, policy holders or other stakeholders is minimised.

Internally, our Crisis Management Team has been meeting regularly and business continuity planning has been underway for some time. As a result, we are well-equipped to manage several scenarios should they occur.

Please read below for important updates in relation to:

  • Access to telehealth services
  • Certificates of Fitness
  • SIRA's Dispute Resolution Service
  • Screening protocols for independent medical examinations and other assessments
  • SIRA funded programs - support for injured people and employers
  • Contact SIRA for support

Access to telehealth

Due to the potential for COVID-19 to impact an injured person's ability to access and providers’ ability to deliver face to face treatment services, SIRA encourages the use of telehealth facilities where possible.

Telehealth services require pre-approval from the insurer and must be consented to by all parties. Practitioners must consider the appropriateness of this mode of service delivery for each person on a case-by-case basis. Practitioners are responsible for delivering telehealth services in accordance with the principles of professional conduct and the relevant professional and practice guidelines to ensure that all care is taken to ensure the safety, appropriateness and effectiveness of the service.

Certificates of Fitness

Insurers and practitioners are reminded the legislation allows certificates of fitness to be issued for periods greater than 28 days. Longer certificates reduce the risk for injured people and GPs potentially being exposed to the coronavirus. Insurers are encouraged to proactively discuss longer certificates with all parties where appropriate.

SIRA's Dispute Resolution Service

SIRA's Dispute Resolution Service (DRS) are focussed on the safety and wellbeing of injured people, our stakeholders, assessors and employees. The following provisions have been put in place to manage the current situation.

  • Where possible, DRS determination of disputes will be held by teleconference or ‘on the papers’ to reduce in-person contact.
  • Stakeholders are requested to correspond with DRS, including the lodgement of applications, electronically rather than attend the DRS offices in person. Documents can be scanned and emailed to drsenquiries@sira.nsw.gov.au.
  • For disputes that are currently in progress, we request anyone who is feeling unwell or has been overseas in the past 14 days not to attend their assessment and advise DRS as soon as possible.
  • DRS will be contacting injured people with upcoming medical assessments. If there is any concern about their health or exposure to COVID-19 DRS will cancel the appointment and reschedule to another time.

We will continue to monitor the situation and provide updates to our customers and stakeholders as COVID-19 response planning progresses. Should you have any questions or concerns you can contact DRS on 1800 347 788.

Screening protocols for independent medical examinations and other assessments

We encourage insurers to work with their providers to develop and implement suitable screening protocols for independent medical examinations and other meetings or assessments requiring face-to-face contact during this time. Video may be appropriate to use in some cases.

Insurers should also have regard to an injured persons broader health conditions as well as their compensable injury, including any concerns a person may have regarding travel.

SIRA funded programs - additional support for injured people and employers

SIRA recognises that at this time injured people and employers may need additional support to manage recovery at work. SIRA’s programs can assist:

CTP JobCover Placement Program

  • For employers who have employed an injured person using the JobCover Placement program (JCPP) but need to scale back or close their workplace temporarily due to the impact of COVID-19, the duration of the JCPP for the person will be increased to accommodate that period of change.
  • Employers should keep a record of the period of changed operations to support their claim for the incentive payments as their business re-opens along with the usual proof of payment of wages to the person.

CTP Recover at Work Assist Program

  • If a business using the Recover at Work Assist Program for an injured person on a recovery at work plan scales back or closes due to the impact of COVID-19, the period of the program remaining can be resumed, once the period of changed business operations is over and the person returns to work on their upgrading plan.

Contact SIRA for support

Our SIRA team is here to support you at this challenging time. You can contact us Monday to Friday between 8:30 am and 5 pm.

CTP Assist

Phone: 1300 656 919

Email: ctpassist@sira.nsw.gov.au.

Dispute Resolution Service (DRS)

Phone: 1800 347 788

Email: drsenquiries@sira.nsw.gov.au

Establishment of a Personal Injury Commission

Minister Dominello has confirmed the government’s commitment to establishing a Personal Injury Commission (PIC) this year which will simplify the dispute resolution system for injured road users and workers who make a compensation claim. Read his media release published 10 March 2020.

It is expected legislation will be introduced into Parliament in the coming months.

Ongoing consultations for CTP arrangements for the point to point industry

Further to SIRA's public consultation on the CTP arrangements for the point to point industry, work is continuing with industry stakeholders on how CTP premiums should be calculated.

Following feedback received from online submissions, SIRA held a workshop with industry stakeholders to further discuss the options and challenges to their implementation.

SIRA has committed to a follow up workshop however in light of the evolving situation with COVID-19 and advice from NSW Health to practice social distancing, further thought on the format of this workshop is needed. SIRA is currently working on an alternative approach to consultation with the industry during this period to continue progress on an implementation plan for the preferred approach.

Indexation of weekly statutory benefits in motor accident claims - 1 April 2020

Weekly statutory benefits payable under the Motor Accident Injuries Act 2017 must be indexed on 1 April each year.

The Motor Accident Injuries (Indexation) Order 2020 has now been amended and the amendment has been published on the NSW Legislation website.

For 1 April 2020, the number used to vary weekly statutory benefits is 1.015.

2017 CTP Scheme Open Data

The 2017 CTP Scheme Open Data is a user-friendly, interactive tool for those who want up to date information on the CTP scheme. You can find information on claims, payments and Green Slip Check usage refreshed daily and policy and premium information refreshed weekly. The December edition of CTP insurer claims experience and customer feedback comparison can also be found here.

CTP Scheme Awareness

SIRA's CTP animation series continues to be shared via social media channels. Follow SIRA’s LinkedIn page to view our latest videos and share with your networks. All of the videos are available on SIRA’s YouTube channel and promoted via Facebook.

This month we have shared the following videos:

For general enquiries

Enquiries, help with claims, feedback, complaints or disputes with insurers or others phone:  1300 656 919  8:30 am to 5:00 pm, Monday to Friday or email ctpassist@sira.nsw.gov.au


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